Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Home Renovation
Why does finding the right contractor always feel like the hardest part of a home renovation? Trying to find a professional that’s not only reliable and experienced, but who you feel comfortable welcoming into your home and really understands your vision; the process can be overwhelming. You have a lot of questions, so we’ve got some answers for you. Here’s what you should know when choosing the right contractor for your home renovation.
Finding a Licensed Contractor
Starting with a Google search for a General Contractor in a specific locale can return 30+ million results! If you weren’t already overwhelmed with the complexities of starting a renovation - the sheer number of options is likely to leave you wondering what to do next. Instead, talk to friends, family, or colleagues who also live in the area about their experiences and ask if they’d be willing to let you see the contractor’s work first-hand. Also, be on the lookout for lawn signs in your neighborhood for recently completed renovation projects, and join local Facebook Groups for remodeling/redecorating or a community network to connect with other homeowners in your area.
How Do I Pick the Right General Contractor for my Project?
To make sure you choose the right general contractor for you, here are some tips:
Choose Your Renovation Must-Haves
Before anything else, decide which upgrades you want and which upgrades you need. Those luxe marble countertops would be nice, but not at the cost of the additional half bath your family needs. Once you have a clear vision of what you want your project to look-like, it will help steer you toward the right contractor for all your project goals and a quote that you’re happy with - which may even include all those wish-list items!
Ask Friends & Coworkers for Recommendations
Start by making a list of 10-15 contractors in your area. This list should be based on recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers - who not only know a contractor, but have actually used them in the past. Ask them specifically about their experience working with the contractor. For example, did the contractor come in on budget and on schedule? How often did the contractor communicate with you and how easy/difficult was it for you to reach out and contact them directly?. Check out online reviews to see what others are saying about their work and the experience they had, and reach out to other homeowners on social media to help narrow down this list.
Check Out Their Portfolios
You want to choose a contractor that specializes in the specific needs of your project. For example, someone with a long list of bathroom remodels, may not be the best choice for your kitchen renovation. Qualified general contractors will make it easy to reach out to them and see their work. Request information of their completed projects over the past year, including photos, blueprints, sketches and other visuals to get the best understanding of how they approach a project.
Keep in mind that a contractor’s portfolio will usually showcase their best work, so if the project list is really short or there’s more than one project that doesn’t meet your standards, take them off your list.
Interview Your Top Contractor Candidates
Schedule a couple of interviews to meet with your top candidates. You will be communicating with this person on a daily basis for many weeks, so meeting them face-to-face is the best way to see if you jive. Would you feel comfortable with this person in your home? Are they communicating clearly with you? Will they be compassionate about your concerns and answer your questions?
Other things you’ll want to know about your contractor is if they’re licensed (remember this is super important!), do they guarantee their work, how long they’ve worked with their subcontractors, and how many other projects they will have at the same time as yours. Prepare a list of questions for your interview based on issues friends may have experienced with their contractors, so you can get the most out of it.
See The Finished Products First-Hand
In addition to friends and family who may have recommended a certain contractor, ask for additional references so you have more opportunities to see projects similar to yours first-hand. During your visit, pay attention to the details and ask if the owner’s have needed servicing or repairs since. Choose a project or two that’s dated at least 2-3 years, so you can see how everything has held up.
For more help with choosing the right contractor and establishing a project budget that works for you, contact RenoFi to discuss your financing options today.